SAN JOSE, Calif.
– The San Jose Sharks
are hopeful that the Detroit Red Wings
won't be able to accomplish against Patrick Marleau
what a nasty flu bug did: stop him cold.
Marleau, who scored a team-high 44 goals in the regular season, is expected to play Sunday in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals at HP Pavilion after missing Thursday's opener because of illness.
"I'm feeling better, definitely," Marleau said Saturday after taking part in practice at Sharks Ice. "Today's a lot better."
The 30-year-old left wing became ill Wednesday, spent a sleepless night and got sick again about 30 minutes before he left home for Thursday's game.
"So I just came to the rink and got some IVs and stuff like that," he said. "I went out for warmups and I didn't feel up to going out there, but I'm starting to feel better now and able to keep some stuff down.
"Usually there's some sicknesses you can play through. I've been able to do that in the past, but this one was a little bit tougher than I expected."
Marleau said he watched some of the first period at the arena, then went home to finish viewing the Sharks' 4-3 win.
"(It was) definitely tough to watch, but the guys played great and it was a good first game for us," he said.
Having an extra day off between games helped the healing process. The Sharks held an optional practice Friday, but Marleau was still too ill to skate.
"Now I'm starting to keep everything down and I got somewhat of a meal in last night," he said. "Hopefully I get in some good meals today and have some energy for tomorrow."
Marleau said he probably would have been able to play if Game 2 was on Saturday.
"But I'm thankful for that extra day," he said.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan
wouldn't tip his hand as to where Marleau would play Sunday. He skated on the third line Saturday with Manny Malhotra
and Torrey Mitchell
"He does everything for a reason," Marleau said of McLellan. "If he thinks that would be a good fit for our team, then that's fine."
Rookie Logan Couture
skated with Joe Thornton
and Dany Heatley
, while the Sharks' red-hot unit of Ryane Clowe
, Joe Pavelski
and Devin Setoguchi
"Patty looked good," McLellan said. "He looked fine. He's feeling a lot better today than he was yesterday and he'll be ready to go tomorrow.
"If Patty's with the big guys, then they have to produce. If Patty's somewhere else, or Heater's somewhere else, then they have to produce. If they're producing, if we have three lines or four lines that are producing on the ice, then it makes it harder for another coach."
Thornton said Marleau's return would be "huge," regardless of where he plays.
"Patty just brings so much to the table -- power play, penalty kill, even strength," Thornton said. "He's just a big part of this team and he's been a big part of this team all year long. To have him out last game was tough, but to have him fresh for tomorrow night is going to be huge.
"With the two days off in-between, I think that really helped him. Today he looked great and I expect him to be really good tomorrow."
Marleau's presence wouldn't be good news for the Red Wings. Though he only had one goal in four regular-season meetings this season, Marleau has had good success against Detroit in his career, with 17 goals and 21 assists in 47 games.
Red Wings forward Kris Draper
called Marleau "a great skater and a game-breaker." Team captain Nicklas Lidstrom
said the Red Wings would have to be wary of Marleau's goal-scoring ability and speed.
"He adds a lot of offense to their team," Lidstrom said. "I'm sure he'll help their team if he's playing."